If you spend any time reading or watching golf instruction, you will hear the topic of balance brought up over and over again. Simply put, balance is one of the most important fundamentals in the golf swing.
Without good balance, you are always going to struggle to make solid contact, and you will be limiting the amount of power you can generate as well. Everything about your swing gets better when you stay on balance, so you should immediately make this point a top priority in your game.
Unfortunately, many amateur golfers have terrible balance. If you just stand back at your local driving range and watch others hit shots, you will see people falling all over the place as they try to hit the ball. This epidemic of poor balance is one of the biggest reasons why the average golfer never manages to get any better – no matter how long he or she plays this game.
Don’t put yourself in that category!
Emphasize balance at all times while you practice and you should see your game quickly start to move in the right direction.
The Exercise Component
Below, we are going to get into a couple of drills which you can use to improve your balance in the golf swing. However, we need to first touch on the topic of exercise and how it can relate to the balance you take with you onto the course.
From a physical conditioning perspective, balance is all about your core. If you can strengthen your core muscles – those in the middle of your body – you should suddenly find it easier to hold your balance as you swing through. The big muscles in your upper legs (the quads and the hamstrings) are also important when it comes to balance.
Of course, before getting started with any kind of physical fitness routine, you should always check with your doctor and proceed patiently at first. If necessary, consider working with a professional trainer who can provide you with exercises that have been specifically selected to strengthen your core muscles.
You don’t have to be any kind of bodybuilder to improve your balance in the swing, as even a little bit of physical training can make a big difference.
The Build-Up Drill
The first drill you should consider using to work on your balance is the build-up drill. This is a simple drill that you can use on the driving range during any upcoming practice session. To complete the drill, follow these simple steps:
- To start, take your seven iron from the bag and find a place to swing. You aren’t going to be hitting balls at this point, but you should still pick out a target in order to orient your stance properly.
- With your stance taken and your body in position, make a swing with roughly 50% of the speed that you would use in your normal swing. Swinging slowly is going to feel awkward at first, but do your best to hold your balance from start to finish.
- If you are able to make it through that first swing, go ahead and make another swing while moving up to approximately 60% speed. Continue that pattern, adding 10% of your speed back each time, until you get all the way up to a 100% effort swing.
So what is the point of this drill? The idea here is to feel the points in your swing where you may be losing track of your balance.
When you make that first swing with just half of the effort of your normal swing, you will be likely to feel any issues that come up along the way. Since you are moving so slowly, it will be easier to spot exactly where you are getting off track.
As you go, make corrections to improve your balance and then try again. By the end of the drill, you should have better overall balance, and you should also have found the trouble spots in your swing that need to be monitored going forward.
Watch It Fall
The other balance drill you should think about adding to your practice routine is even simpler than the first – yet it just might be the best drill of all for finding your balance.
As you hit balls, you are going to work on holding your finish position perfectly still until the ball hits the ground. That’s it.
As you swing through, you are going to make sure to strike the finish pose that you see the professionals hold when they play. From that position, watch the ball fly through the air and only allow yourself to move and reset once the ball has landed out in the distance.
This is a great drill because it provides you with a clear ‘finish line’ for having to hold your finish position. As long as you can hold yourself still until the ball lands, you will know for certain that you have done a nice job with your balance. Of course, if you are struggling to hold that position, you will have discovered a flaw in your swing that needs to be addressed.
Many amateur golfers will find that they are leaning back away from the target in the finish, making it hard to hold still until the ball lands. If you find yourself falling back, it is likely that you are sliding toward the target with your lower body, rather than rotating properly. Work on the rotation of your hips in the downswing to address this issue.
There can be no debate that balance is one of the most important fundamentals within the golf swing. If you suspect that you have issues with balance during your swing, consider using one or both of the drills above to put yourself on the right track. Also, you may wish to think about a training program to add strength to your body in the key areas that affect balance.
Good golf swings are built on a foundation of excellent balance, so start working toward that goal as soon as possible.